Sadeh Festival
Iranian Customs

Sadeh Festival


Fire was considered a special and sacred element and one major God’s symbols in ancient Persia and people lighted fire in nearly all of their celebrations, but the most particular one for admiring fire has been “Sadeh Festival”. In that time, this festival was the most important one after Nowruz and Mehregan which is still celebrated by Zoroastrians of different Iran cities, especially Kerman and Yazd. A major spot for celebrating this event is “Boudagh Abad” district in Kerman. Although based on historical documents, this festival like Nowruz and Yalda shouldn’t be considered religious and they’re actually national festivals of Iran.

There are different possible reasons for the beginning and holding this event, but many historians believe that in ancient times, Persians divided a year into cold half and warm half; and 100 days after the beginning of cold phase, people celebrated “Sadeh Festival” since extreme coldness had been passed (“Sad” means 100 in Persian).

People were contributing in collecting a pile of firewood beforehand. They gathered in countryside at night and lighted the fire and held celebrating and merrymaking. They sang the songs, mostly from the epic book of Shahnameh. Special beverages and sweets also were served. After the ceremony, farmers took some ashes to scatter on their farms, they believed this action would make their farms more fruitful.

Zoroastrian priests in white are leading Sadeh Festival

Bahareh Yousefian

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